Whenever I hear of someone who has been put on bed rest, my first reaction is something along the lines of, I would go crazy lying in bed for days on end. Well, as it turns out, not all bed rest prescriptions are created equal. For some women, bed rest might be a little more flexible term than others. If you've never been on bed rest, you're probably wondering about what things you can do on bed rest — outside of your bed.
As it turns out, bed rest can involve many more things than just, well, resting in bed, but it depends on the severity of your condition. In fact, the benefits of very strict and limited bed rest are starting to be questioned, according to Adrienne Zertuche, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Atlanta Women's Healthcare Specialists. She explains, "In the past, many obstetricians recommended bed rest for women with preterm contractions (early labor), elevated blood pressures (e.g. preeclampsia), and other complications of pregnancy. However, more recently, we have learned that bedrest is in fact not in the best interest of the mother."
Dr. Zertuche went on to elaborate that while having pregnant women rest "may improve blood flow to the baby and therefore increase birth weight, there is no evidence that it decreases the likelihood of preterm delivery." In addition, bed rest can actually cause other problems, such as blood clots and depression. "Bedrest may also lead a mother to be deconditioned; losing fitness and muscle mass can decrease effectiveness of pushing when in labor and can make it harder to care for her newborn and herself."
And that's exactly why many women can actually do more than anticipated while on bed rest. Of course you'll need to check with your doctor for specific instructions, but it's very possible that your doctor will still allow, maybe even encourage, you to enjoy a few of these activities.